Why Cedar Allergies Are So Bad This Year

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Michael MarksJanuary 4, 2017 2:58 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

It’s that time again – the time of year when cedar fever is at its height. And this year is one of the worst on record. Why is it so bad? Doctor Paul Fulmer, an allergist from San Antonio, explains:

“You know it’s crazy, but with the drought we had for a while, and now all the water we’ve been having, cedar trees love water. So they soak up the water this year even more so it’s just going to make it a lot more powerful when they release their pollen.”

Cedar sufferers have at least a little good news to cling to: air from the cold snap that struck Texas last night will blow away some of the insidious pollen. Unfortunately, it may be back with a vengeance once warmer weather returns. So maybe keep those Kleenex close.

A federal appeals court will hear arguments today over part of a Texas law that makes it illegal to harbor undocumented immigrants. It’s a component of House Bill 11, the border security bill that passed in 2015A three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit of Appeals will consider whether that violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, who filed the suit, argues that it does – they claim that immigration enforcement is only a federal responsibility.

District Judge David Alan Ezra sided with the group in April 2016. In that ruling, he barred Texas from enforcing the law until the case had made it completely through the judicial law.

The Attorney General’s office argued that the law doesn’t forbid actually sheltering immigrants, but rather encouraging them to remain in the United States illegally.

In Texas and around the country, 2016 was a year of fits and starts for the construction industry. And a new report shows that 2017 may be more down than up for building in Texas’ largest city. Eddie Robinson from Houston Public Media has more:

The latest report by Dodge Data and Analytics finds a 40 percent decline in November of 2016 compared to the same month a year earlier. Patrick Jankowski is a regional economist with the Greater Houston Partnership. He says it’s a delayed effect from the region’s economic downturn after oil prices tanked in 2014.

“The construction industry actually supported economic growth in 2015 and 2016, but now that cycle’s winding down and it’s actually going to be something that slows down economic growth this year,” he says. 

The group forecasts the construction industry will lose 16,000 jobs in 2017.”

Although construction in the Houston area was down overall, residential buildings fared slightly better than nonresidential.